The Plundered Past

By Karl Ernest Meyer,

Book cover of The Plundered Past: The Traffic in Art Treasures

Book description

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Why read it?

1 author picked The Plundered Past as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This fascinating book not only looks at art stolen by thieves, but also at the business of art museums and what constitutes moral collection. It was written in 1973, so things have changes drastically as far as how we perceive where a treasure belongs, but Meyer already argues for the return of the so-called Elgin Marbles, for example. He has a brilliant table at the end, listing major art thefts 1911-1972 and including comments, all of which deserve a story of their own. For example: 

1953, Rodin bronze, stolen by a student who wanted to “live with it”. 

1959, Daumier…

From Kaaron's list on stolen art.

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